By DAILY MAIL REPORTER
Not this year: Both the Williams sisters - Wimbledon's greatest ladies' singles champions - have been knocked out before reaching the quarter final stage.
One took to the court dripping with jewellery, the other wore a daring outfit, and together they had the biggest entourage at Wimbledon.
But nothing could stop the end of an era at SW19 as both Venus and Serena Williams were dumped out of the championship in straight sets on only its seventh day.
For 11 years the Williams sisters have dominated Wimbledon, notching up nine singles titles between them. Both going out in the fourth round is their worst-ever result.
Serena, 29, was thrashed by Frenchwoman Marion Bartoli. And for 31-year-old Venus, history repeated itself as she was beaten by Tsvetana Pironkova, the beautiful young Bulgarian.
Miss Pironkova, 23, created last year's biggest upset when she defeated Venus at the same stage, and was charmingly modest about her achievement, admitting that even she was surprised. This year, however, was different.
Sportsmanship: Marion Bartoli of France, right, shakes hands with Serena Williams of the U.S. after defeating her at the Wimbledon tennis championships
The willowy brunette took charge from the start and by the time Kate and Wills returned to the Royal Box after a quick bite (apparently they were too late arriving at SW19 for a full three-course lunch), Venus was already a set down.
The royal couple had the temerity to retake their seats during her service game and merited a fearsome glare from the five-times champion.
But shortly afterwards it was all over.
Wimbledon's queen of bling: Serena sported these chunky pieces of jewellery during her fourth round clash
Glamour: The sparkle on Serena's nail polish was matched only by the sparkle on her bracelet
The Centre Court crowd applauded Venus but an hour previously when her sister's result had flashed up there was loud cheering – they do not warm to Serena here.
Venus admitted they were both upset. She sniffed: 'No, definitely not our best day. Obviously it's not something planned. We rarely lose on the same day.'
And when she was reminded of the last time that happened, at the French Open in 2008, the full force of her sarcasm was unleashed.
'Thank you,' she said. 'Great to remember all these losses, right?'
Serena was asked if maybe it was a good thing for women's tennis that she had been knocked out this year.
'Yeah, I'm super happy that I lost,' she drawled. 'Go, women's tennis.'
It was the earliest exit for the four-time All England Club winner since a third-round loss in 2005.
But despite the loss, and despite the presence of royal spectators, Serena kept her crown as Wimbledon's queen of bling.
She played in huge dangling earrings, a knuckle-duster ring, a handcuff-style bracelet – and a pendant proving just how much of a star she is.
Showing the strain: Venus Williams returns a shot during her fourth round match against Tsvetana Pironkova of Bulgaria
Five-time champion Venus was playing only her second tournament since withdrawing from the Australian Open with a hip injury and she was well short of her best today.
The repeat of last year's quarter-final resulted in an identical outcome as the highly-impressive Pironkova, 23, made light work of the fourth-round match.
Venus, who has reached at least the quarter-finals on 11 of her 14 previous visits to Wimbledon, struggled to find her range and was frequently foiled by the net.
Younger sister Serena's bid to complete a hat-trick of Wimbledon titles came to an abrupt end at the hands of French ninth seed Bartoli
The effects of a challenging year in which Serena has been restricted to less than three weeks of action due to injury and serious illness finally caught up her.
Foiled by the net: Venus looked rusty after a year in which she has hardly lifted her racket in competition
Serena looked rusty as her gutsy passage through the Wimbledon draw came to a shuddering halt in the fourth-round clash on Court One, Bartoli winning 6-3 7-6 (8/6).
Frequently her accuracy deserted her as she scooped a series of shots out of play, often because she had connected with the ball poorly.
The American's defeat means this is only the third year that the defending champion has failed to make the quarter-finals in the open era.
Fighting spirit enabled Williams to trade blows with Bartoli in an impossibly tight second set, but she was striving to stay on terms rather than dominating.
Entourage: Serena's loss came despite her bringing along the biggest entourage of any player this year
Top row: 1 Val Vogt (Serena's PA), 2 Esther Lee (trainer), 3 family friend, 4 Sasha Bajin (Serena's hitting partner), 5 Jessica Baron (Venus's PA).
Middle row: 6 Richard Williams (father), 7 Lakeisha Williams (Richard's wife), 8-9 nephew and niece (children of murdered sister Yetunde), 10 family friend.
Front row: 11 Jill Smoller (Serena's agent), 12 Suzanne Pond (Nike representative), 13 Isha Price (sister), 14 Oracene Price (mother).
Bartoli was superb, playing with confidence, passion and poise to seal her first victory over the American in three contests.
It is the first time since 2006 that neither sister has reached the Wimbledon quarter-finals.
Together they have taken home the 'Venus Rosewater Dish', the Wimbledon ladies' singles trophy, nine times since 2000.
Tsvetana Pironkova beats Venus Williams
Serena Williams vs Marion Bartoli - Match Point - Wimbledon 2011
Tuesday, 28 June 2011
Dripping jewellery, daring outfits and Wimbledon's biggest entourage: But Venus and Serena Williams are dumped out of Wimbledon in shock fourth-round
By DAILY MAIL REPORTER